Sitting on Miles -- When Should I Go?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by mrx900, Nov 12, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    We recently had two lil beauties join our family, and before, we were packin' our bags and flyin' away to places that required a passport. Well, I'm thinking that may be hard to do with two tiny infants, and especially since some carriers do not allow children into business/first class cabins.

    What's a good age to fly around with kiddies? Share some of your experiences please!
     
  2. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    We have 3 kids all grown now and we started traveling with them almost from birth. They learned at a young age what behavior was expected of them and developed an appreciation for other cultures and peoples at an early age. They all still greatly enjoy traveling.
     
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  3. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Calling one of our resident experts on the topic ... @mommypoints
     
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  4. FEV77

    FEV77 Silver Member

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    I would agree - and it depends on the kids. Just like some travel in cars better than others.

    Preparation is the key - having enough of their favorite things (toys, food, etc), and new things to help pass the time. Have them drink during take off and landing to help clear their ears. Ask their pediatrician for any medication that might be helpful to have with you on the trip.
     
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  5. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Not a parent, but I'll chime in anyway. Wait until they are at least 2 months old to travel. After that, hit the road - but stick with car journeys and/or SHORT flights (an hour or so) until they're around 4-5 years old. Toddlers have real trouble sitting still for long periods, and the angle and size of their Eustachian tubes makes them much more prone to ear pain while flying than older kids and adults. (And the constant stream of colds they seem to get at that age doesn't help matters!). Once they're old enough to start kindergarten, they're probably old enough to handle transcontinental and long international flights without too many behavior issues. But of course every kid is different, so you'll have to see just how yours are developing before you make travel plans!

    I think most parents of infants and toddlers find a "home base" approach to travel (like renting a beach house or apartment for a week) easier than constantly moving about. It's less disruptive to the little ones' daily routines (toddlers NEED their naps), and it minimizes the number of times you have to schlep their enormous pile of kiddy crap around. Once you can ditch the diaper bags, the strollers, the bottles of breast milk or formula, etc., faster-paced travel becomes easier.
     
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  6. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    Like the new tagging feature, Randy!

    Congrats on your two new additions! You are correct a few carriers don't allow infants in premium seats, but that list is quite small. Most do allow little ones, but you will be hit with generally a 10% fare fee for bringing them. So, if you are redeeming miles for a premium cabin international ticket that would cost $10k, expect to shell out $1,000 per infant. British Airways and Aeroplan are two good programs to consider for award redemptions since their lap infant fees are much more reasonable on award tickets.

    All kids are different, and twins will keep you at least twice as busy, but there is a "golden window" for travel from about 3-6 months where they are on a routine, but not yet mobile. They also still sleep a fair amount during this time, so big trips can actually be done with some success. However, the hardest time for travel is generally from when they become mobile to when they start having a longer attention span. So, say 9/12 months - 18/24 months. This is probably the roughest time as they don't want to sit still, but can't yet have their attention held as well while sitting for long periods of time. During that timeframe I personally would not do extra long haul flights unless you either really needed to or just really really wanted to. 2-3 hour flights are usually okay with preparation.

    That said, no matter when you start traveling, just get them used to the routine and make it fun. My daughter was a pro by 2 years old, but she built up her skills on shorter flights first. She is now almost 4 and tells other kids what to do on the plane while we are boarding "no crying, no kicking". ;)

    Good luck and let us know how we can help!
     
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  7. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    Awesome...thank you for all the pointers!...I think I'll try a small 2 hour trip first---PDX-LAX, just to get outta this miserable rain, and to get some sunshine with the kiddies...and then see how they do. You are defly right about the attention comment--they will require A LOT of attention on longer flights and will get bored quicker. I hope EVA plans to build a Hello Kitty Playground inside the plane to keep em all busy, so Mom n Dad can enjoy their business class seats. :D
     
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  8. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Please can you rent her out? I'd love to have her with me on a few flights where I encounter even adults this needs to be said to!
     
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  9. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    We will need to base her out of ORD and LGA, respectively.
     
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  10. dstober

    dstober Gold Member

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    Agree with all mommypoints said. We traveled a lot when our kids were in the golden 3-6 mo. window. Air travel was pretty easy onboard. Having a plan for how to transport kiddies and car seats from gate to gate was often the trickiest bit. I also learned the "priceless" value of having an extra change of clothes not just for the little ones but for the parents too (packed in the diaper bag, for ease of access!).
    IMHO, having lots of activities and snacks onboard for pre-schoolers can make or break travel along with hugely changing my mindset. For a number of years, I had to get my head straight that the flight was a golden opportunity to be curious with my kids about seeing travel from their eyes rather than an opportunity for me to watch a movie, read a book, etc. Making that mental transition meant I was more present with my kids and I have stories that are hilarious, tender, and still make me smile. And if they actually napped on the flight, I felt gratitude rather than napping as an expectation.
    Also agree with moongoddess that having a home base makes travel easier. We took our kids from DEN-LHR and DEN-SYD and multiple trips DEN-HNL when they were 4-6 and 7-9. The keys to our happiness each day were: 1) "down" time planned into each day, with some familiar items (our son needed his Lego time each afternoon before a nap); 2) hotel with a pool (indoor or outdoor depending on climate/weather); 3) interspersing unusual with familiar (food, daily patterns, etc).
    My kids are now in their teens and love to travel. Along the way they've learned tons about other peoples and places and perhaps just as importantly, how to be low-maintenance travelers who know themselves. Sorry for the long-windedness (if you got this far!). And wishing you all the richness traveling with your kids will be!
     
  11. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    @dstober: traveling with kids when they are older than 5 is defly a lot easier, as most my friends have suggested. Thanks for the useful tips on "down" time and extra pack of clothes for the parents. Good advice!
     
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  12. LauraPDX

    LauraPDX Silver Member

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    We took ours to Hawaii when young. Rent a condo that has laundry facilities and you don't need to pack much other than a few clothing items, hats etc. toys were the wooden spoons from the kitchen to play in the sand. Refrigerator kept all the snacks, juices etc needed plus it was often easier to cook a simple meal or BBQ than to eat out all the time (heck, we still do this!). Agree with mommy points about the active but not reasoning age under 2. We didn't have twins though, so taking a 3rd person to hand off to, might help (since you have all those extra miles to use up).
     
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  13. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    @LauraPDX - great idea on the condo...that might be something worth looking into , especially now that the dreary PDX rain has returned. I think I might be able to con my niece into joining us for a trip to the Islands.
     
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  14. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    You're right, but your reply is lacking in details. It's 10% on many carriers for a lap child. Many folks would go the responsible route and buy the kid a seat, so a baby seat could be used.
     
  15. Jaimito Cartero
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    Jaimito Cartero Silver Member

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    I'll give you the 2 months part, but think the one hour flight part is certain impractical in today's world. And kids shouldn't have a constant stream of colds, either. If a baby has ear problems, it's certainly a bad idea to fly without getting them resolved.

    I've flown with our baby 4 times so far, all on flights of 2-3 hours each, and no problems. I think breast feeding mothers have it easier, as they can suckle and more easily equalize the pressure in the ears.
     
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  16. moongoddess

    moongoddess Silver Member

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    Actually frequent colds are perfectly normal in the toddler/preschool years. Young children, having been exposed to nothing yet, have no immunity to any of the hundreds of strains of cold viruses floating about. Catching those viruses (and thus getting a cold) is how they develop their immunity to them. And it's why the incidence of colds falls off as a person ages: the older you are, the more of those viruses you've been exposed to over your lifetime, and the less likely it is you'll encounter a new one that will make you sick.
     
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  17. mommypoints

    mommypoints Gold Member

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    True, that part was implied, but should have been stated. I recommend getting your kids a seat for many reasons, but even with that you can't always use a baby seat in a premium cabin due to airbags and such in some of the seats.
     
  18. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    I'd recommend getting them flying now. The sooner they get used to it, the better. :)

    Avoid red eyes, since it's miserable for everyone. Bring lots of snacks, toys, etc.

    Both my boys were on schedules so we booked flights during their nap times: they're creatures of habit so they could sleep on the plane. And we always would get back to the hotel or condo (depending where we were traveling) for their naps, even if it meant multiple trips back and forth for naps.

    When they're small, it's so much easier except for all their stuff (car seats, diapers, etc.) that you have to shlep around.
     
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  19. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    yeah, that's the part Im dreading---I just cant see myself hauling around car seats and diaper bags, etc. I think I'll wait till they are outta diapers to at least do a cross the pond holiday
     
  20. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Here's a picture of my family on a trip to England when my younger daughter was still in still in pull-ups but already old enough to carry them home from the store.

    CIMG0153-001.JPG
     

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  21. Pizzaman
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    I wouldn't necessarily think that way. There are plenty of ways to make travel with young kids easier. Most require more thought and more money. For example, I've found bringing along a grandparent on a trip can be an invaluable resource while helping create a ton more family memories.

    You can use luggage forwarding services to avoid taking extra bags with you through the airport, though this wasn't one of our preferences. We've rented car seats, strollers, etc. on trips at our destination to avoid that sort of extra hassle. We've also used points to redeem for larger hotel rooms or two connecting rooms to make sure there's a bit more space and a room where we can set up like our child's home bedroom to help normalize their bedtime routine.

    Our kids were both flying by the time they were 6 months old. Our daughter (our first child) took to flying immediately. She was always calm, never cried and loved to explore. Our son was completely opposite, so we ended up changing him from lap child to a "car seat kid" on flights much earlier. It was a rough go for about 9 months and then he normalized, now much happier to fly. Both kids look forward to flying very much now and both have great memories they share.

    I consider the gift of travel one of the most valuable gifts you can give your children. Showing them the world and how we're part of a mixing pot of cultures at a young age should help them thrive in the world and give them plenty of memories to share with their children.
     
  22. mrx900
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    mrx900 Silver Member

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    okay-now that looks do-able!
     
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  23. mikeef
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    So here's a few thoughts, in no particular order, from a parent of twins (who will turn five in January, so we're past most of the danger zone):
    • Our kids' first flight was BA F BOM-LHR. They were a month old and did great in bassinets. Who would've thunk it?
    • Take a one-hour "practice" flight with them. Consider it a mileage run. Every baby is different. We got very, very lucky in that our kids turned out to be good travelers.
    • You're going to be packing a lot of crap, particularly for the plane. Bring at least double the amount of formula/food that you think you'll need. At least double. A hungry baby on a delayed flight is no fun.
    • The amount of crap that you carry will be directly proportional to your babies' happiness and inversely proportional to yours.
    • If you can at all afford it, skip the lap-child thing and get the kids their own seats, particularly when they become mobile. It's better for both safety and comfort.
    • You're about to enter the golden age, of 3-9 months. Plan your travel around their nap times.
    • Once they become mobile but before you can put a few TV shows on the iPad (ages 1-2, +/-), keep your trips short. This age is the danger zone. They're full of energy and wiggly. We tried a couple of trips to the west coast at that age. Not so much.
    • Most people understand that crying babies are a fact of life. Nobody likes it, but they understand. What other passengers hate is when the baby is crying and the parent doesn't look like they are doing anything to resolve the situation.
    • It gets better. I promise.
    • Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about managing twins, on flight or otherwise.
    Mike
     
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  24. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    My boy flew transpacific at 1.5 years while my daughter at 10 months - they both since made the trip several times and we done around the world (LAX-PEK-BKK-CPH-LHR-IAD-ORD-SNA) when the little one just turned two. They both love airplanes and always ask me when is our next trip. We have flown US, UA, AA, SK, TG, OZ, JL, CX, CA, etc. and never had a problem getting award seats in business or at lounges because they are too little. But when they turn two, you have to purchase their own seats, be it in cash or miles. Also, you might have a problem if business class seats have a "fish-bone" seating configuration (CX)!
     
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  25. Slow_Mustang
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    Slow_Mustang Silver Member

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    All I can add is that extra formula/food and diapers are a must. It happened few decades ago, but after we boarded the plane at LHR, we were told that we were not going anywhere because of the fog and we could not get off because of security reasons - too many people at the airport because of all the canceled flights. So we sat there in the plane with our 9 month old son for 10 hours before the fog lifted enough for our BA plane to take off. I have no unpleasant memories of that incident, so things must have worked out.
     

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